Different Gardens at Night Owl Cottage (Part 3)

Today is a good day for blogging. As with many other days here on the Northern Rivers and other parts of NSW and of course Australia, it’s a very hot day, nothing unusual for summer in Australia really, but unusual in that we have had so many heat waves, more than I can remember in the 26 years of living here. I have battened down the hatches by mulching as much as I can in the cooler parts of the day, but when the humidity hits, and the humidity has been very high, and then I’m back inside. I have also been watering deeply as much as I can and I’m happy to say most of my garden has survived. If the humidity could only hit a couple of percentage points higher and we would have a deluge, and as the rain has been a bit light on lately, apart from a ferocious hail storm and another huge storm, I would welcome it. The plants I have featured in the photos are doing very well, especially this plumbago. It is situated in a garden that is in full sun, never gets any extra water from me and still it gives a great display with its lovely flowers.  I love the individual little flowers that make up the whole group.

When I cannot get outside in the heat, I either sew or in the morning I get out on my veranda as the sun is over the other side of the house and I do a little mosaicking. My latest addition is a piece I have named “Russell” and he now resides in my garden just outside the front of the house. He was a little tricky to grout so I don’t think I will be providing a mate for him as suggested by friends.  I think he looks right at home and he’s there looking to welcome visitors.

russell-3   russell-5

Another flower that just keeps on flowering and is so very hardy in my sub-tropical garden is the day lily. I don’t fertilise my garden much at all, I concentrate on mulching and using any other organic matter to add to this as it builds and feeds the soil. I do however, occasionally muck out the chook pen and throw this around the beds but the veggies get it first and my cottage garden is second and then it doesn’t cover the entire garden. But, after 20 years of this gardens life, it still continues to evolve, grow and look fantastic against all odds. This day lily is called Marakech and I love the dark broody colour especially with those raindrops on the petals, it looks so lovely and reminds me that it can indeed, RAIN.


Last week I heard a thump on the window and knew that another bird had crashed into the window. I have no idea why they do this and in all the years this has been happening I think we’ve only experienced one or two deaths. Last week was a bird that we identified as a Brush Cuckoo, one that deposits their eggs in other birds’ nests for them to rear and they particularly like Magpie nests. I’ve never seen this cuckoo here before, but then they are usually not seen but heard, and I can hear them during the night way down near the creek calling their lonely call “cuckoo, cuckoo”, well it seems that way to me, lonely, possibly because it is night and there is usually no other sound. We think this bird was deposited into the nest of our local Magpie family that comes for a feed every day as they brought no baby back with them after the nesting time and both mum and dad looked so bedraggled and thin that they must have been working overtime to feed this interloper. He survived his brush with death, stayed on my hand for quite some time before he flew away.


Summer is a time for lots of summer flowers such as the Frangipani; nothing speaks Australian summer to me as the scent of a Frangipani. I planted my first Frangipani here 25 years ago and it is now a magnificent specimen and the fragrance is heady from those gorgeous flowers and I just love the architecture of the trunk and branches of the tree, even without leaves.

I have about a dozen Frangipanis in my gardens, and of course, I always want more as there are so many more colours than I ever imagined. I have what I call a Fruit Salad (see pic) and a lovely pale pink form. I also have the red form. They can become quite addictive.

fruit-salad-frangipani        pale-pink-frangipani

Another incident that happened last week, but was a good one, I always call out “Breakfast” and I roll the “R” as I’m doing so.


The birds have got used to me calling this out and come for their treats, and as I did so this particular morning, I got quite a lovely surprise, I looked up to see a mummy wallaby complete with a joey in her pouch come bounding up from the garden at speed and stop to taste and then eat some of the treats I had put out for the birds. I haven’t had that happen since, but I can live in hope.


Another lovely tree in my garden, which I thought had perished as it lost its leaves prior to flowering and I didn’t have a clue that it did this, is the Laburnum, I call it Golden Showers tree. It was smothered in these gorgeous sunshine yellow flowers, still is. Of course, now I want more to plant around the garden.

laburnum-2       laburnum

Just to finish off, one of my favourite gardens (out of about 20) is my Cottage Garden. I just love it. I didn’t have a garden when I lived in England and loved going on trips to the countryside and enjoying all it had to offer. I have seven segments in my cottage garden, with pathways between each segment, although some are more prominent as pathways than others with rock and mosaic pavers, but it all looks great. In winter it dies down and I spend a bit of time pruning and in early spring it all comes back with a vengeance and I’m always surprised that it does. The flowers that feature here are of the dwarf crepe myrtle. It’s such a lovely little tree and looks quite at home in my cottage garden.





The gazebo in the cottage garden with the dwarf crepe myrtle in the foreground


An Ipomoea flower in the lower part of the cottage garden on a misty morning.

Just to prove that bees are still around, here is one about to enter the trumpet of an Agapanthus. With all the flowers and herbs and veg that I plant, and let go to seed and therefore flowers (with the veg), I attract many bees and other pollinating insects to my garden.bee

I cannot let you go with a couple more pictures of trees in my garden. I have to have trees and have planted about 1000 in this garden over a 25 year period. This gorgeous old fig was here many years ago and it is majestic to say the least and give lots of shade and mulch with its leaf drop. Plus the builder of our home planted a Jacaranda (too close to the house) but how gorgeous is it? Blessings.




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